Friday, January 20, 2006

A Change of Pace

Alright, the Tom Seaver Fan Club now has it's own URL. If you want the latest news on the Mets as well as a indepth look at the 20th anniversary of the New York Mets, be sure to check out the Tom Seaver Fan Club at

My new RSS feed is

Also, be sure to check out these great blogs

Reds Cutting Edge
Black Sox Blog
Baseball's Savior

Gas House Gang
Dem Bums
Liberty Ball

Angel Blog
Wrigley Field Curse
Earl Weaver Rules
Metrodome Memories
Fenway Fables
Braves Baseball Blog
Pirates Journal
Indians Journal

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Mets Sign Ramon Castro

This is old news, but the Mets signed backup catcher Ramon Castro to a one year contract. Castro looked pretty good in an extended stint last year when Mike Piazza went down. He hit only .244 but he had eight homeruns and he was pretty good behind the plate (three fielding runs above average).

Castro will be backing up the newly acquired Paul Lo Duca.

That leaves Chris Woodward and Victor Zambrano who haven't been signed yet and both filed for arbitration this past week.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Mets Sign Mike Pelfrey

The Mets came to terms with their first round draft pick last week. Mike Pelfrey signed a four year deal, which includes a $3.5 million signing bonus. If he makes the big league squad, higher salaries will kick in, but no details were provided.

Pelfrey is a highly touted prospect. If you preordered John Sickel's Baseball Prospect Book, he sent you a list of the top 50 pitching prospects (as well as the top 50 position players). While it wouldn't be fair to give his exact position, he is in the top 20. I expect to see him get a cup of coffee this September and then maybe make the big league team mid year 2007.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Mets Lineup Shaping Up Nicely for 2006 has posted projected starting lineups for all of the teams. While none of this is really a surprise, the Mets lineup is looking good. Here's what I expect the batting order to look like

1) Jose Reyes SS
2) Kaz Matsui 2b
3) Carlos Beltran CF
4) Carlos Delgado 1b
5) Cliff Floyd LF
6) David Wright 3b
7) Paul Lo Duca C
8) Victor Diaz/Xavier Nady RF

It would still be nice if the Mets could somehow land Manny Ramirez and it would be equally good to see Willie Randolph go unconventional and hit Carlos Beltran in the number two spot. As always, wait and see.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Mets Sign Bret Boone, Trade Jae Seo

The Mets signed Bret Boone to a minor league contract today. After a career year in 2001 and a great season in 2003, Boone has been on the decline and hit rock bottom last year. The Mariners released him and while he was picked up by the Twins, he didn't last too long there either. It'll be interesting to see if the 36 year old four time gold glove second baseman has anything left in the tank. Kaz Matsui has hardly been stellar, so I have a feeling this spring training will include a good old fashioned position battle to see who ends up the starting second baseman.

The Mets also dealt Jae Seo and Tim Hamulack to the Dodgers for Duaner Sanchez and Steve Schmoll. Seo was solid in twelve starts for the Mets last year so it's a questionable move. Adding Sanchez to the pen pretty much makes the Mets four deep and makes it rock solid so the logic may have been that Seo had a career year and it was time to get something while the gettings good.

Now, we just need to complete the deal for Manny Ramirez and then throw a bunch of money at Roger Clemens. A guy can wish.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Mets Player Retrospective - Tom Seaver 1972

It's hard to call any season that Tom Seaver has an off season, especially one in which he wins 21 games, but 1972 might have been it. Seaver put up some decent numbers, like the 21 wins and the 249 strikeouts in 262 innings, but he also allowed 10.20 baserunners per nine innings and he lost 12 games. On a support neutral basis, Tom Seaver would have been an unimpressive (for him) 18-15.

The Mets had their fourth winning season in a row but they fell well short of winning their division. The Pittsburgh Pirates dominated the National League East with a 96-59 record in the strike shortened season and the Mets finished 13 1/3 games off the mark despite finishing 10 games above .500. Ironically, they'd win the division the next year despite having one less win.

Despite the down season, Seaver did have some great moments during the season. Pitching in the front end of an Independence Day double header, Seaver pitched a one hit shutout in which he struck out 11 and walked walked four. That one hit didn't come until one out in the top of the ninth. On September 20, he gave up one run on five hits, but he struck out a season high fifteen batters. Nine days later, on September 29, he threw a two hitter in which he struck out thirteen.

Here's the numbers....

Wins 21
Losses 12
Games 35
Games Started 35
Complete Games 13
Innings Pitched 262
Hits 215
Runs 92
Earned Runs 85
Walks 77
Strikeouts 249
ERA 2.92
Runs Saved Above Average 10
Shutouts 3
H/9 7.39
BR/9 10.20
SO/9 8.55
BB/9 2.65
SO/BB 3.23
Neutral Wins 18
Neutral Losses 15

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Mets Sign Chad Bradford

The Mets inked former A's (and most recently, the Red Sox) reliever, Chad Bradford. to a one year deal for more then $1 million (financial terms haven't yet been disclosed). Bradford has a pretty unique delivery (submarine style) and his claim to fame is having an extensive write up in the book, Money Ball.

Bradford was shut down early in 2005 with back problems and he ended up logging only 23 1/3 innings. His numbers were solid though. He's never going to strike out a ton of batters, but he walked only four and allowed only a single homerun.

He'll be a good complement to Billy Wagner and Aaron Heilman and this could look like a great pickup if he comes out and pitches like he did in 2002 and 2003.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Mets Sign Endy Chavez

I'm a little late with this news, but the Mets signed Endy Chavez to a one year deal. Not sure why we did this, other then to have a warm body with major league experience to back up Carlos Beltran. Chavez has a career .659 OPS and he's a pretty average fielder. Not sure if this is the precursor to another move or what, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how Chavez will fit in. At best he's a fifth outfielder and you'd think they'd have one of those in AAA at a bargain basement price.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Mets Player Retrospective - Tom Seaver 1971

With great players, it's tough to seperate the great years from the career years because there's so many seasons that standout. 1971 is one of those seasons. Tom Seaver set career bests in strikeouts (289), complete games (21), ERA (1.76), strikeouts per nine innings (9.08), and strikeout to walk ratio (4.74). His strikeout and ERA total led the league, and his 20 wins was second to Fergunson Jenkins.

In what was somewhat of an injustice, Jenkins walked away with the Cy Young despite being outpitched in most categories by Seaver. Think Johan Santana/Bartolo Colon of 2005. Using Lee Sinin's Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia, Seaver set a career mark in support neutral win/loss with a 23-7 record. Jenkins mark was 24-13.

On thirteen different occasions in 1971, Seaver struck out ten batters. It also seemed like he gained strength as the season went on as his two best outings took place in September. On September 6, Seaver threw a two hit shutout and he struck out twelve. In his second to last start of the season, on September 26, Seaver threw a one hit shutout and struck out 10. His season best strikeout total came on August 11 when Seaver threw ten shutout innings and struck out fourteen (and didn't even get a decision).

Here's the numbers:

Wins 20
Losses 10
Games 35
Games Started 35
Complete Games 21
Innings Pitched 286 1/3
Hits 210
Runs 61
Earned Runs 56
Walks 61
Strikeouts 289
ERA 1.76
Runs Saved Above Average 48
Shutouts 4
H/9 6.60
BR/9 8.64
SO/9 9.08
BB/9 1.92
SO/BB 4.74
Neutral Wins 23
Neutral Losses 7

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mets Sign Julio Franco

The Mets signed veteran first baseman Julio Franco to a two year $2.2 million contract. This gives the Mets a couple of things at a fair price. We get some insurance at first base, and we get a solid right handed pinch hitter. In addition, you get a veteran prescence in the dug out that'll basically give Willie Randolph a second bench coach.

The Mets also signed Jose Valentin to a one year, $900k deal. Here we get a left handed bat coming off of the bench, and Valentin can fill in just about anywhere.

So the Mets are filling in the back end of their 25 man roster with some solid veterans. Not a bad strategy.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Quiet Winter Meetings

After three trades and a big free agent pickup, the Mets were pretty quiet at the winter meetings. They didn't land Manny Ramirez, although he's still in Boston. And I wouldn't mind them going after Miguel Tejada if talks about Ramirez break down.

Regardles, the Mets are way better then they were heading into last year. What I'm also hoping is that the pickup of Carlos Delgado takes some of the pressure off of Carlos Beltran and he can be the player we expected him to be. Probably the biggest reason the Mets didn't nab that wild card is because Carlos Beltran, for lack of a better word, stumbled. This was the first negative Runs Created Above Average (RCAA) season Beltran had since 2000, and this was after two monster years.

So while I hope the Mets aren't done wheeling and dealing, they've made some great progress so far.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

More Addition by Subtraction and the Mets Trade for Paul Lo Duca

It looks like Rafael Furcal is headed to the Dodgers, so once again one of the Mets primary competitors has a hole to fill. You've got the Phillies losing Jim Thome and Billy Wagner (to us), Furcal leaving the Braves, Esteban Loiaza leaving the Nationals and everyone leaving the Marlins (once again to us). In the meantime, we signed the best reliever available and we shored up one of our biggest weaknesses last year (first base) with a bona fide slugger. While all this is going on, the Mets continue to pop up in trade talks for Manny Ramirez.

The Mets traded Gabby Hernandez for Paul Lo Duca so we no longer need to pick up a catcher. I'm sort of luke warm to this deal because Lo Duca's been pretty much riding one great season. In 2001, he hit .320 and hit 25 homeruns. Since then, he's never hit more then 10 homeruns and he's usually hovered more in the .280 range. He's a pretty average fielding catcher.

Gabby Hernandez split time between A and high A in 2005. He was very effective at Hagerstown. In 18 starts and 92 2/3 innings, he had 99 strikeouts, a 6-1 record and a 2.43 ERA. When he was promoted, he was less then stellar. His ERA balooned to 5.74 and he was 2-5. In 42 1/3 innings, he had 32 strikeouts.

But, the trade fills a hole and it's one less thing to worry about. Now we can concentrate on luring Manny to town, and maybe lock up a starting pitcher (or two) to shore up the rotation. The winter meetings are this week, so it'll be interesting to see what happens with Ramirez.

Mets Eyeing Paul Lo Duca

According to Lee Sinin's Around the Majors, the Mets are close to making a deal with the Marlins for Paul Lo Duca, and they have outstanding offers to both Ramon Hernandez and Benji Molina. Tonight, I'm going to take a look and see which of three I'd rather have if given the choice.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Not Just the Cable Money

Tom Verducci has a great column about the Mets early spending spree in the free agent and trade markets. While many feel, including myself, that the Mets were spending their way to a division title because of their new regional sports network, it's a lot more complicated then that. In some ways, it's the tail wagging the dog because they want a great product so they can present on their sports network, not because of it. On top of that, ticket sales were up last year and they have about $30 million coming off the payrolls.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Mets Sign Billy Wagner

Alright, another early Christmas present. It looks like the Mets upped their offer both by giving him a fourth year and putting him over the $10 million a year mark. Four years for around $43 is a lot to pay someone to come out of the pen, but Wagner's been one of the best relievers in the game over the last ten years. 840 strikeouts in 630 1/3 innings says it all and he has a 0.99 career WHIP and a mind boggling .183 batting average against. These aren't single season numbers, they're career numbers.

And he's coming off of one of his best seasons although he's had several. Now all we need is Manny Ramirez and I think we can say the off season was a success. What's been particularly interesting is we've been raiding the teams in our division. Not only are the Mets getting better, but the Marlins and Phillies have had some big losses. Not only are we adding, we're also getting addition by subtraction.

Mets Continue to Set the Trend in Hot Stove

We're about a week removed from the Carlos Delgado trade, and it looks like the Mets are continuing to push forward in their pursuit of their first World Series in 20 years. They're still a player in the Manny Ramirez sweepstakes, they have a huge three year, $30 million dollar deal on the table to Billy Wagner and now they're turning their sites on a replacement for Mike Piazza.

And they're not looking at anything second rate. According to this story, they have offers out to both Ramon Hernandez and Benji Molina. Molina is a former gold glover, but his defensive skills have regressed the last couple of years (-3 FRAA in 2004 and 2005). Ramon Hernandez is better known for his bat, and he's done a decent job at the plate despite having to play in PETCO the last couple of years. The concern with Hernandez is his durability. After four straight seasons with 400 at bats, he's gone two without hitting that benchmark.

It looks like Wagner is holding out for a fourth year, although from what I've heard, the deal the Mets gave him basically give him that barring a catastrophic injury. What's disconcerting is the mega deal that B.J. Ryan signed could raise the bar for Wagner. Yes, Ryan is younger so a five year deal isn't "too" out of hand, but the Jays threw a lot of money at him. Wagner might be looking to add a million or two a year to the deal as he knows he's one of the premiere closers in the game.